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>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. on the newshour this monday, the lead story: president obama in china, where he talked to students about freedom and censorship. >> the more information flows, the stronger the society becomes. >> lehrer: after the other news of the day, we'll have a big picture look at u.s.-china relations, and a sampling of how people in beijing view the american president. then, gwen ifill updates the general motors bankruptcy, as it announces plans to begin paying off its bailout debt to the federal government. elizabeth brackett reports on the debate about oil mined in canada and refined in the u.s. and jeffrey brown talks to author robert edsel about his new book on art that was looted by the nazis in world war ii. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by:
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and by toyota. and monsanto. and by grant thornton. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: president obama began
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a three-day visit to china today with a call for cooperation. but he also prodded the communist government to scale back censorship and to tolerate more criticism. newshour correspondent kwame holman has our lead story report. >> the president arrived in the world's most populous country on sunday aiming to build on a growing u.s.-china relationship. big issues dotted his agenda today with chinese president tao from trade to climate change to the economy. and at their first meeting in beijing mr. obama sought to enlist china's help across-the-board. >> i think the world recognizes the importance of the u.s.-china relationship, not only for the prosperity and security of our two countries, but also because so many of the world's challenges cannot be solved unless the united states and china work together rts.
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>> reporter: but there was another challenge, how to address china's record on human rights. the president broached the topic at a town hall meeting with university students in shanghai earlier in the day. >> we do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation. but we also don't believe that the principless that we stand for are unique to our nation. these freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation, we believe, are universal rights. they should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities whether they are in the united states, china or any nation. >> reporter: following past practice for such events chinese authorities detained dozens of human rights activists in advance of the president's visit. mr. obama did not mention the crackdown but he did chide the chinese government for internet censorship. china has 250 million internet users but also
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employs the world's tightest controls over web access. >> i am a big believer in technology. and i'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. i think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes. because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. they can begin to think for themselves. that generates new ideas. it encourages creativity. >> reporter: the president suggesteda's communist rulers should have nothing to fear from more openness. he cited criticism he faces at home. >> the truth is that because in the united states information is free and i have a lot of critics in the united states who can say all kinds of things about me, i actually think that that
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makes our democracy stronger. and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that i don't want to hear. >> reporter: it was unclear how many chinese were exposed to mr. obama's opinions. the town hall was carried only on local television in shanghai, and internet feed was available but the video reportedly was choppy and hard to hear. but the chinese leadership clearly watched when they met later in beijing president hu called the town hall quite lively. >> this is the third time president obama has met with hu since mr. oa became president. it comes at a time of growing interdependence. china has become a major funder of u.s. government debt, and the largest commuter of american goods and service -- consumer of american goods and services. at the same timeiers of rapid economic growth have made china the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide closely followed by the united states. at today's town hall in
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shanghai mr. obama acknowledged the two nations differ over how to cut carbon emissions. >> the united states has a highly developed country, as i said before per capita, consumes much more energy and emits much more greenhouse gases for each individual than does china. on the other hand china is growing at a much faster pace and it has a much larger population. so unless both of our countries are willing to take critical steps in dealing with this issue, we will not be able to resolve it. >> reporter: but getting china's political leadership to go along on climate change is likely to be much tougher. and the president also wants the chinese to pressure iran and north korea on their nuclear program. chinese specialist ming wong at george mason university in virginia says enlisting beijing's help is a
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long-term project. >> the two countries have become incredibly dependent on each other. but they also differ in values and security interests. and so this is another relationship we can put in cruise control. it needs constant attention by top leaders from both sides. and it is not just a -- relationship there are so many issues in the world that require mutual understanding and cooperation from both sides. >> reporter: the president faces challenges across asia. at a singapore summit over the weekend regional leaders accused the u.s. of becoming pore protectionist on trade. >> well >> lehrer: we'll talk more about china later in the program. and you can watch extended excerpts from our interview with ming wan on our web site, we also have a link to "frontline" for the stories of nine young chinese people coming of age in a time of change.
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in other news today, the u.n. nuclear agency reported iran plans to start up a new plant for enriching uranium in 2011. the underground site had been secret until recently. the report said initially the site could produce enough enriched uranium for one warhead a year. it also said the discovery of the plant raises "questions about whether there were any other nuclear facilities" that iran has not declared. iran has insisted its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. the head of french forces in afghanistan escaped a rocket attack northeast of kabul today. he was meeting with tribal elders when two rockets hit a nearby market. at least 12 afghan civilians died, and dozens more were wounded. meanwhile, the afghan government announced a new unit to fight rampant corruption, under mounting international pressure.
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u.s. ambassador karl eikenberry welcomed the news. now with the elections over afghanistan has an important opportunity to decide on new steps to meet the challenges ahead as the judges, the prosecutors and the investigators that are here today know and have amply demonstrated in their daily work, fighting corruption is primarily a mattel -- matter of willpower and integrity. >> lehrer: published reports last week said ambassador eikenberry has warned against sending more u.s. troops to afghanistan until the government confronts corruption. in iraq, police found 13 bullet- riddled bodies, apparently a revenge attack against sunnis who fought al-qaeda. the bodies were recovered in a sunni village, west of baghdad. local officials said the attackers wore iraqi army uniforms. there was also fresh violence to the north. a car bomb tore through a market in kirkuk, killing at least five people. the prime minister of australia
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has apologized to thousands of british orphans. nearly 150,000 were sent to britain's colonies after world war ii to ease pressure on social services. many were beaten or sexually abused. today in canberra, prime minister kevin rudd offered condolences to 7,000 of those children-- now adults-- who still live in australia. >> we come together today to offer our nation's apology, to say to you, the forgotten australians, and those who were sent to our shores as children without their consent, that we are sorry-- sorry that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused. >> lehrer: rudd also apologized to thousands of so-called "forgotten australians." they include more than 500,000 australian-born children abused in state care during the 20th century.
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>> the rules on mammograms may be changing in a major he verseal. a government task force announced women should wait until age 50 to get the annual breast exam. it said starting at age 40 the standard for many years causes too many false alarms. and does more harm than good. the american cancer society sharply criticized the new guidelines. >> the the space shuttle "atlantis" was launched today on one of the last flights for the shuttle program. the six astronauts blasted off from cape canaveral, florida, to begin 11 days in orbit. they'll deliver a large load of spare parts for the international space station. only six shuttle flights remain on the schedule. the fleet is scheduled to be retired in 2010. in economic news, federal reserve chairman bernanke warned the recovery may not be as strong as first hoped. in new york city, he pointed to a weak job market and tight credit, and said "future setbacks are possible."
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bernanke also pledged to watch the sliding u.s. dollar. on wall street, commodity prices moved higher, and that helped energy and materials stocks. the dow jones industrial average gained 136 points to close just under 10,406. the nasdaq rose nearly 30 points to close at 2197. and still to come on the newshour tonight, chinese voices; general motors' turnaround; canada's oil sands; and art recovered from the nazis. that follows take two on china, a big picture look at its relationship with the u.s. it comes from james fallows of the "atlantic" magazine, who recently returned from living in china. minxin pei, a professor of government at claremont mckenna college in california. he's been analyzing china for the us since the days of
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tiananmen square. and neal ferguson, an author and professor of government at harvard university. his most recent book is "the ascent of money." space jim fallows first, should china be seen as a friend or an enemy of the united states? >> well, probably neither of those directly. it's both an important partner for the u.s. in countless ways. as we heard president obama saying in climate issues and the environmental issues if the china and u.s. don't work together it will be difficult for anyone else to do anything. during the financial criess it was crucial for china to work with western countries as well. but there are differences of political values and strategic interest. so it is a partner and also, you know, a contender in various ways. and i think the challenge over the last 30 years and for years to come is to keep both of those aspects in mind at the same time. >> lehrer: mr. pei, would you agree with jim fallows that a contend -- a partner. >> yes, but i would a word
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"limited" before partner. because china can be a partner but china has its own interest. and it is not going to let the u.s. dictate what china's interests are. as a result, if you look at what china is doing, where china can be helpful, china always puts its own national interest ahead of american concerns. so the u.s. can be disappointed if it play places too much hope on china being helpful. >> lehrer: professor ferguson, what terms would you use? >> well, i rather like the word frenemy because there is a dimension of friendship and a dimension of rivalry in this relationship. i have talked about chi-merica as a single economy, china plus america is a key driver to the expansion of the decade from '98 to 2007. and still in very many ways the key to the way that the global economy works today with the chinese exports, the u.s. importing a huge trade deficit between the united states and china. and china intervening in international currency markets in order to keep its
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own currency weak. but thereby financing at least a part of the u.s. deficit. china has become the banker to the united states. and its policy of reserve accumulation has provided us nearly $2 trillion worth of effectively cheap or if not free credit to the united states. so this is a very paradoxical relationship and i would liken it perhaps to a marriage that was once happy but it is now approaching a rather rocky period if not divorce. >> lehrer: rocky period if not a divorce, jim fallows. >> i think divorce, you can imagine that only as an extreme circumstances. for example, a disagreement over taiwan which remains a contentious issue or some other political shock. and otherwise there are real imbalances to be worked out. as we've heard, over the last decade china has geared its economy to create as many jobs as it could even though that meant sending in about half of the entire worth of its production overseas in loans to the u.s. and other places.
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and cheerly the imbalance for china in the decision pores of the economy and the u.s. on having such a reliance on consumption and debt. each has to be worked out. i think professor pei, i think china will pursue its own interest first, that is probably true of every great power. so the trick with the u.s. and china is to have an understanding that each of them will have its own interest paramount, finding way to move more in common directions than opposing directions am i do think that is possible. >> professor pei, how do you think president oa's words today about universal right, the excerpt that we just saw from what the president said in shanghai to that group of students, how do you think that will go down with the leadership of china. >> well, it's to the going to go down well. but i think president obama has struck the right tone. he has affirmed american values without being too confrontational. of course the chinese government does not react positively or comfortably with that kind of assertion publicly. that is why, perhaps, they did not allow him to have
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televised town hall meeting in shanghai pod. >> lehrer: so is that just kind of a given, professor pei, that there is always going to be this difference of opinion, a serious difference of opinion about dhinsds of issues, and put them aside and move on to the other things like economics and climate change and all the others? >> no, il think these issues, differences in values, when you look how u.s. china relationship, you will find this anomaly. both countries have overlapping interests. in many, many areas but both countries lack strategic fundamental political trust. if you don't have trust, you cannot actually move on these important issues. >> go ahead, i'm sorry. >> no, i'm done. >> lehrer: do you agree with that, professor ferguson, there has got to be trust or this isn't going to work? >> well, i have to say that i by president obama's foreign policy currently consists of making shy fa lootin speeches around the world from cairo to shanghai. i think he has his
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priorities wrong here. there are two important items that should be right at the top of the chinese-american agenda. number one is getting the chinese to end this crazy policy where their currency is pegged to ours an when the dollar weakens so does their currency at a time when it should clearly been strengthening, not weakening. and number two to get the chinese to line up on a meaningful way on iran. now if he is going to make speeches about human rights then he must know the chinese will simply dismiss out of hand, i think he is wasting valuable time on what is really one of the most important diplomatic initiatives of this presidency. >> lehrer: you don't think there is any way, professor ferguson, china will ever go along on iran and some of these other -- and some of these other issues that jim fallows also mentioned, tibet, the dalai lama, north korea, you go down through the list? >> i think iran is the most important of these issues right now because it's highly unstable situation in tie ran. there are clearly elements within the regime that are pressing ahead with their nuclear arms program. and the critical thing is to line up a meaningful international coalition against this, to make the sanctions actually bite.
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president obama got somewhere with the russians. but he's going to get very much far with the chinese if he presses these kinds of domestic political questions. because that is not what the chinese are interested in hearing about. and i think that just looking for trouble. >> lehrer: looking for trouble, jim fallows, is -- >> i see it a little differently. i was struck in fact by the continuity between president obama's peach and what their most recent president bush had said and president clinton before him. and that through most of the time of the u.s.-china opening in the past 30ers. >>, american presidents have emphasized the areas for potential cooperation, largely economic, also strategic. we do see ways in which potentially china can be part of the solution rather than the problem in iran an north korea and other places. certainly on the environment. but every u.s. president has made clear there are areas where we disagree. after president george w. bush's last visit to china he gave a big speech in bangkok before his arrival were the importance of liberty and freedom. the he was in continuity in
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showing the united states stands for certain political values. we'll state those things and we are also looking for cooperation, economic and strategic with china. >> it is better to give those speechs in bangkok rather than in china itself. >> the bush administration made various pronouncements in china too. the point is this is very much like what we have heard from american presidents over the last 25 years. >> lehrer: professor pei, let's move to the military part of the strength, the growing strength of china. should it be seen as a potential military threat, not just -- not to the united states per se but to u.s. interests in that part of the world? >> china's military modernization has aroused a lot of suspicion and concerns not just in the u.s. military but around china's -- among china's neighbors. so if you talk about a potential threat t is certainly a potential threat to chinese neighbors like japan, india, taiwan, and
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southeast asia. but the problem with china's military modernization is not the speed or the scope of its modernization, but its transparency and china's strategic intention. what will china do with its increased capabilities. and that's an area probably president obama will touch upon on his visit. >> lehrer: what is your view of that, professor pei, do you believe that the chinese leadership is interested in fooling around in other countries militarily if it gets the strength to do so? >> no, i think the chinese leadership is very domestically focused. and one of the lessons they have learned from the soviet class is imperial overreach. and they believe that the soviet union collapsed because it spent too much on the military and support the rogue resiege -- regimes around the world to its own cause and finally the soviet union had too many military commitments around. i do not believe in the foreseeable future china would like to its expand its
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military footprint around the world. >> lehrer: professor ferguson, how do you see that? >> i think the difference between our situation today and any previous period since the opening of china in the early 1970s is that because of the financial crisis, china's economic --. >> lehrer: i mean on the military. >> but bear in mind that the economics are crucial here for the first time in over 100 years, china's economy is likely to become the same size as the united states within, well, it could be in the 2020s. they are now embarking on a major expansion of their naval cap pablts beginning with submarines and probably moving on to aircraft carriers. that means by the 2020s china will no longer be just a frenemy to use that unfortunate word, it will be a strategic rival in asia-pacific and perhaps further a field. >> lehrer: but did you think to the question that i raised with professor pei, do you believe there is an inclination on the part of the chain ease to tinker with other countries that are more international things using its military strength as it builds in the 2020s as you say, or are
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they going to be more domestically oriented the way professor pei believes it looks that way now. >> it is clearly not something that the president generation of chinese leaders are thinking of doing. but i think we have to look ahead a couple of decades and ask ourselves what the next generation of china's leadering will be doing particularly when their country is bound to run into serious internal problems not least because of the huge social implication and environmental dislocation of their accelerated growth policy. now my concern is that nationalism is really the thing that binds china together today. it's no longer ideology. and if the economy engine should falter it will be very tempting for china to move on to a somewhat more aggressive foreign policy course. but this is not something for today's leaders, it something for the next generation. >> lehrer: what do you think about that jim fallows. >> i think my impression is closer to professor peis. and i think that is the general view of people with experience inside china. the nationalism that it has aroused in china is usually in response to some kind of perceived, you know,
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disrespect from the outside world. and so much of the energy is on trying to develop the economy and keep the thing going for a while. so i think that is while anything is possible in the future for the foreseeable future, for ten or 15 or 20 years, military challenges are not the main thing we should be concerned about with china, the exception of taiwan. >> -- not in larger ways. >> lehrer: we've lost -- no, you are back, you are back. thank you, jim fallows and professors pei and ferguson, thank you all three very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> lehrer: and some other thoughts about the president's visit to china. they come from beijing residents who talked to global post correspondent josh shin last week. global post is an international news web site.
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>> reporter: obama merchandise generally sells well in china. so we've always sold oa postcards and other nick knacks. the t-shirt is something we just came out with this summer. >> if barack obama takes a stroll down the ollie ways of old beijing he will find plenty of chances to buy images of himself. but what kind of reception can he expect from the people without live here and what are the issues they expect him to address. i took my own little stroll to find out. do you know who the american president is. >> obama. >> that's right. what kind of person do you think he is? >> regular people don't understand much about him. >> president obama is a very capable, very skillful president. >> my image of president obama is pretty good. because from the skin color perspective, he's black. >> overall i'm not very satisfied. because recently, for example, with the financial crisis, obama has engaged in trade protectionism in the interests of his own
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country's economic growth. >> what issue in the u.s.-china relations do you think is most worth paying attention to. >> i think it's the taiwan question. taiwan belongs to the chinese people. we'll never give her up. she's part of chinese territory. she's a member of our family but america is always selling her weapons. we find that hard to understand. and to adjust the balance between countries. for example, north korea, pakistan, al qaeda. all kinds of problems. come to china, coordinate things a little. >> obama coming to china, i think it's mainly intended to help the u.s. economy. doesn't he need chinaa to keep buying u.s. debt. i think that's the reason he's here. but from the perspective of the environment, and new sources of energy, i think obama and china will make progress. because this is a topic chinese leaders also care
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about. >> if you were po to run into obama and had time to ask one question, what question would you ask him. >> i would ask him about taiwan. his economic policy, what i mean is, how do develop hand-in-hand with china's economy. >> how well does he understand china? that is, over the course of his life. what sort of impression has china left on him. because i feel regular americans probably don't understand enough about china. >> i would ask him what he thought of our merchandise. >> do you think he would like it or not? >> i think he would laugh. >> you can find a link to the globalpost >> lehrer: you can find a link to the global post web site on our own, >> lehrer: next tonight, gwen ifill updates the general motors story, its progress on both the business and bailout fronts. >> ifill: the bad news: general
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motors announced today that it's lost more than a billion dollars since july. the good news: in spite of that, g.m. chief executive fritz henderson said the troubled auto company will pay back about a billion dollars it borrowed from the federal government, five years ahead of schedule. henderson was asked today about the timing of the announcement. >> i've probably been asked the question since the bankruptcy, i don't know, maybe 100 times: when are you going to start paying back the taxpayer? the answer is now. i think it's a commitment of the company that we need to start doing this and the best place to start is with the loan and to agree to a repayment schedule and begin the process. we absolutely felt this is the right thing to do. >> ifill: for more on the general health of general motors, i'm joined now by david shepardson of the "detroit news." >> welcome. >> hi. >> so basically gm used taxpayer money to pay back taxpayer money s that right? >> in a nutshell. i mean basically the u.s. government gave general motors about $50 billion in
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taxpayer loans starting in december and going through july. at the end of their bankruptcy they gave them $16 billion in exit financing. put this in a special account that requires government approval to spend the money it was for contingencies, if the economy really went south, to pay various obligations and because things have gone better than gm and the treasury expected, gm is going to start using that money to pay back the loan ahead of schedule. >> so it doesn't mean that somehow they are paying down the loan or that somehow the u.s. taxpayer is going to company out a hend in the end. >> well, certainly not ahead but look gm has this money. they could hold on to it. initially in july company executives suggested they might in the use any of the money to pay it back. they might use it for pension obligations or other expenses. so it is a sign that gm is doing better than expected. but it's not as if this is new money that gm as -- has earned to pay the taxpayers back. >> it is hard to imagine losing a billion dollars and using it to pay down a loan. how does this compare to the
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good news that ford which did not take government bailout money, that they gave us last week. >> ford surprised a lot of people. they had a billion dollars in profits. and you are right, they have been doing a lot of self-help measures. they are reducing their debt by talking to their bondholders. they have gotten concessions from the uaw. and what ford did was they went out several years okay and borrowed on every asset they have including the blue oval whereas gm didn't borrow money, wait toad long and when they went to borrow money, the credit crisis happened and they couldn't before owe anything. >> did the cash for clunkers program in which people were able to turn over their gas guzzlers and get deals on new vehicles, did that help gm with its bottom line. >> absolutely. there were three key things. one, the bankruptcy was far shorter than anybody imagined. it was only about 40 days rather than 60 to 90 days. cash for clunkers sold about 700,000 cars. and while detroit auto make ares weren't helped as much as japanese automakers and german automakers, it did give them a shot in the arm. gm reopened assemblyant plas,
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they added more workers. so you have to give part of the cede to -- credit to dash for clunkers. >> is gm still considering the possibility of going public at some point. >> they are going to have to you, you and i own gm. we own 61% of gm and the treasury wants to sell as fast as possible but when you own that much stock it takes an awful long time. at the earliest it would be is next june, july, sometime in the second half of 2010. that could be pushed back, you know, because the economy is weak and it unclear what the appetite is to invest in gm from investors at this point. >> because you and i own 61% of gm, i like thinking about it that way for a moment, is it posh that we could call in our loan, we could sell a portion of gm before they had a chance to go you be lick? >> that was an idea that senator alexander from tennessee suggested, basically taking all of the shares of stock, contribute them to every taxpayer in america. it hasn't gotten much traction. i mean the obama administration wants to sell, basically keep the company in a solid footing, you know,
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in an ordinarily process and the argument against that is if you have 200 million taxpayers each selling shares how would you that work t would be awfully complicated. >> that not a real possibility. >> it doesn't seem realistic now. >> even if gm were to start ahead of schedule repaying the government loan, hitch could the taxpayer still be on the hook for assuming in the best case scenario. >> great question. i mean so there was 50 billion in loans. the taxpayer swaped basically -- 42 billion dollars of the loans for that 61% stake. so we don't have a loan any more. we have a loan for 6.7 billion. we have some preferred stock but that is the key number, 6.7 billion. that is the number gm will pay back. in order for us to get 9 rest of the money back when gm goes public, those shares of stock have to be worth enough to equal that $42 billion. according to the gao, the congressional oversight panel and the former auto czar, steve ratner, they all
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agree we lost a sizable amount, could be as much as 25 billion, but as fritz henderson said today they're out to prove gao wrong and to do that they improve the company so when it comes time to set shares, they're worth more than all of these groups have found so far. >> improving the company, exactly. what are they doing to speak to the competitive pressures that put them in this position they are in now. >> the key is new products, new launches. sort of a commitment to, in the old days gm would rush new models out. one of their key models is chevy cruz which is a traditional vehicle, not a hybrid, but it will get about 40 miles per gallon. they delayed the launch by three months to get it right. and i think gm is really trying to win back customers who have basically given up on them. maybe they had a bad vehicle in the early 80s and said i will never even consider a gm or an american car again. they want to get people back in the showrooms to give them a chance. and i think they point to these quality surveys that show that american cars are by most measures, you know,
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just as good as any other foreign car. but too many customers especially on the coast aren't giving american cars a chance. >> and there is a lot of talk about chevy volt, that hybrid vehicle, they are winning so much of their hopes on that as well. >> right, that car is about, you know, the image of the company. look what toyota got out of the toyota prius, they only sold about a million of them in ten years, but what they did is it improved the image of the company. and when you thought toy tax you thought green, environmental. the chevy volt has the capability to do the same thing to really turn people's image of the company around. because gm had the electric car before toyota and gave up on it. >> how much of this, of this announcement especially the pr potential for this announcement, as well as these kinds of plan these have in the works, how much does this contribute to a long-term plan for eventual sustainability. >> it is huge. you heard g m.c. fritz henderson say he has a personal committee to repay
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this loan. they know the bailouts are hugely unpopular. they are up set because the industry didn't get a bailout or up set with the banks. gm wants to connect with taxpayers and say we understand this was a major investment. we appreciate it. we are not taking this for granted. we know we got a second shot of life and without taxpayers, gm would be gone, so would chrysler. and this is about saying to the american people we're going to do what it takes to pay the money back and we're not going to forget it. >> david shepardson of the "detroit news", thanks some of. >> thanks, gwen. >> lehrer: now, the environmental costs and economic benefits of getting new oil in canada's western province of alberta. elizabeth brackett of wttw- chicago reports. >> lehrer: . >> reporter: canada is by far the largest supplier of oil to the united states. sending 1.8 million barrels
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south every day. and companies are spending billion its looking for more, digging under stripped out forests in search of a form of petroleum called bitcimen. environmental and native groups say the oil which they call tar sands oil hurt the air, land and water. they point to what it takes to get it to market. and it takes a lot. huge shovels dig the sand out of the earth and pile it into gigantic trucks. a joint venture among seven oil companies runs its equipment around the clock 365 days a year. >> a truck will do a round trip in anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on how long the haul is, typically with the bitumen is separated out and pumped to the nearby refinery. the remaining sand and clay which is highly toxic, is pumped out into tailing or waste ponds that dot the landscape. the process uses an enormous
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amount of energy. according to simon dyer. he works for an institute promoting alternative energy. >> the oil sands is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in canada, on a per -- base 'tis takes about -- produces about three times as much greenhouse gas pollution extracting and upgrading a barrel of oil from the oil sands as conventional canadian or north american production. >> reporter: but alberta's minister of the environment insists since canadian oil doesn't have to be shipped, it's actually no worse for the environment. >> we've just concluded a very in-depth study by independent third party that considers the lifecycle, sort of the well to wheels on any given source of oil. and the oil sands compare very favourably with conventional oil. >> reporter: and he says canadian oil is critical to the economy's of both countries. >> the oil sands are an
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economic driver for all of canada. and much of the industrial heartland of the united states is contributing very significantly inventory, and equipment into the oil sands. >> reporter: there's no question that it's been good for the town of fort mcmurray in all berta which is booming -- >> because it a boomtown i can ask for more wages and get more wages. >> reporter: and it's been good for refinery workers in midwestern states. this bp facility in whiting, indiana, just launched a 3.8 billion dollar expansion plan to bring in more canadian crude. union boss jim buchanan. >> that's our lifeblood. we will probably have upwards of 1400 pipefitters on this particular project. >> reporter: and there are other advantages according to industry lobbyist david sycuta. >> it comes from a friendly country that shares our values.
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and it comes in a pipeline rather than a tanker. and it comes from a democracy rather than a dictatorship. to me those are three things that tend to trump other concerns. >> reporter: but those other concerns disturb the opponents. in addition to worrying about co2 emissions, they fear what the mining is doing to w59er. alberta's mining operations lie along the athabasca river, part of the third largest watershed in the world. george poitrus thinks leakage of toxic waste from the tailing ponds is harming members from his cree nation that has live add long the river basin for countless generations. >> the types of cancer we are seeing are those where cancers that you should find one per case in a population of 100,000. we're finding two or three, possibly more. >> reporter: the company says the seepage into the athabasca river basin is insignificant. but there no question that tailing ponds can be deadly
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for wildlife. last year 1600 migrating ducks flew into one of the tailing ponds and drowned. the process also uses a lot of water. it takes between two and four and a half barrels of fresh water to extract and upgrade 1 barrel of oil. steven -- steven gaudet, the manager of environmental affairs says they're working to change that. >> we recycle nearly 85% of our water over and again. if you were to track one molecule of water through that sthm system you would see eye recycling of that molecule over 18 times in our process. >> reporter: and finally there is what environmentalists say the mining does to the land. >> the wetlands and peatlands that you see flying over this landscape will never be reclaimed. and the industry has really a poor track record of dealing with the toxic tailings, the waste material, that is a byproduct of the process. >> but gaudet disagrees pointing to pride with bison
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raised on reclaimed acres. syncrude spent 1 million on land reclamation in 2008 and plans to spend the same amount this year. >> here on this site rereclaimed over 4600 hectares of land and of that 4600 we have begun to get those lands certified with the provincial government. and last year we had 100 hectares certified as being fully reclaimed. >> 100 hectares or 257 acres means only .2% of the mined area has been fully restored. since mining operations began in alberta in 1967. the industry says a lot of the land will be saved by a new method called steam-assisted gravity drainage or sadgd, instead of open pit mining. at this conoco philip outside of fort mcmurray steam is sent to the well heads and injected into the ground. the stef softens the bitumen it will neel is fluid enough to be pumped back to the
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plant. the water is used to make more steam. >> the process does not disturb the land the same way open pit mining does but because so much natural gas is burned to create the steam that is needed the sagd process releases more than twice as many greenhouse gases as open pit mining does. millions of dollars are being spent to find ways to bring those emissions down says conoco phillips vice president. >> in the next number of years technology will unlock more ability to close that gap and improve it beyond what is done in rest of the industry. so i understand that we're going to get there. we know we need to get there. >> but dire who deplores the additional greenhouse-gas emissions thinks all the environment being pour mood alberta's oil field is going in the wrong direction. >> by looking into this infrastructure, the billions in capital is being invested in pop lines and refinerys
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to move this stuff to the u.s., we're basically prolonging the tough decision which is that we need to make the transition to a sustainable energy future. >> canadian officials say they will not release their detailed climate change plans. including emission caps on oil sands until it is known what the u.s. plans to present at the climate treaty talks next month. >> president obama acknowledged this weekend that the upcoming copenhagen summit will not result in a binding deal on reducing emissions. instead it will lay out general goals. for an international treaty. >> lehrer: and finally tonight, a tale of war, art, and an unusual group of soldiers. jeffrey brown has our conversation. >> it was a drama that largely took place with the great sweep of destruction, violence and final triumph
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of the second world war. the systemic looting of art by nazis and the response an rescues effort by the u.s. and allies. much of the work was undertaken by a small group that came to be known as the monument men and the story is told in a new book by that title, author robert edsel joins me now. welcome. to help set up the story, describe the -- let's start with the hooting first. i said it was systemic. it was a vast scale. how did the nazis go about it. >> this is a scale we had never seen. hitler was determined to build this museum in his hometown to be called the fuhrer museum. with the world's greatest works of art. they had to have them, they are in other countries. they went go changing the laws, going about confiscations not just of jews but also other wealthy checkers and it was systemized in the standpoint of developing lists, these different parts of the nazi troops were in countries months before the invasion making lists of the art they intended to confiscation --
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confiscate so in the midst of a war you wouldn't think that rescuing art would be a high priority with so much going on. how did this effort get under way. how big did it become? >> well, i think the great vision was on the part of a small handful of men and women in this country. who years before the bombing of pearl harbor were in touch with museum colleagues and museums in europe. and they understood from their colleagues about hitler's right to power, how art was being used as a weapon of propaganda and i think they had the vision to see at some point in time the united states was going to become involved in this war, within weeks of the bombings in pearl harbor, officials met at the metropolitan museum of art in new york city. and they discussed the protection of works of art in this country. but i think in the months that fold they could see the great risks were to the great western civilization culture treasures that lay in the path of war. >> so this was a small group of people that became known as the monument men. some of them came from art backgrounds, restoration, preservation. there was systemic looting.
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they systemically went about, it sounds like from your book, to try to get it out. >> as much as they could do this. it wasn't really and untried experiment. there were museum directors, curators, artists who volunteered for service. average age 40 years old, many with accomplished careers and families. they had many reasons to not volunteer but they felt it was important to try and preserve the great culture treasures of western civilization les they become a stain not just on the united states but the western allies for all time if the great treasures were destroyed. their focus initially was on structures since the name monument men but as they got to europe more and more they began looking for the missing works of art that weren't in the museums. >> and we are talking literally about great treasures of western civilization. this is mona lisa we have a photo here. >> the mona lisa was one of 400,000 works of art evacuated from the louvre in a matter of a few weeks trying to keep them out of war's path. of course initially the concern was to try to get
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them out of way of damage from bombings and fires. but in the course of time it was to try and keep them away from the nazis in the theft that went on. so the monuments men arrived on the ground there were no more than a dozen of them in all of northern europe responsible for covering a vast, vast area. there was a separate group of monuments men in italy charged with this awesome responsibility. really no play book, if you will. many of them were hitchhiking across europe. they were pathetically resourced but they were empowered by this monumental order by general eisenhower that said we will protect cultural treasures so much as war allows. nd that really was a sea change in how this army went about fighting a war on the one hand, trying to mitigate damage to cultural treasures. >> there are so many amazing people and stories here. is there one favorite character of yours in all of this? that could help encapsulate. >> are you right. we have got the future director of the metropolitan museum of art on the front cover of a book standing on the steps of the a castle in southern bavarian where they
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discovered many thousands of works of art stolen from checkers in france. george stout who really was the brainchild of this operation who was a pioneer in the development of conservation, who had the vision to see this was going to be necessary, i think one of the fellows that we enjoy some of getting to know as a living monuments is a fellow named harry ettlinger, the last jew -- jewish boy to have a bar mitzvah, his family fled germany, came toed united states. he went to school here, worked two jobs, was drafted into the army at 18, found himself on a truck into the battle of the bulge. when i was 19 he was pulled off the truck and later found out they were pulling him into the monument sector because he was a native german speaker. here is this 19-year-old returning to his old country of origin to fight a war on behalf of his new country. >> you mentioned general eisenhower. we have a photo of him looking at some of the works that were recovered. so much was recovered. but a lot was not. >> that's right.
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so many of the things that were recovered, the monuments men stayed in europe for more than six years after the war. by 18951 had returned more than 5 million cultural objects, library books, stain glass, church bells and hundreds of thousands of works of art to the countries from which these things had been stolen. this photo of general eisenhower, paton and bradley, was in one of the thousands of places thee monuments men found work hidden by the nazis including from their own german museums there are still hundreds of works of art, over a million when we get into documents, musical manuscripts that are missing today. they are with people that liberated some of these documents. they are with armies of all size, displace persons and i believe over the next five to ten years as we see the world war ii generation pass, many of these things are today in basements and atiqs hanging on walls will begin to surface. it is one of the things we hope at the monument men foundation with play a role in lum naturing the path home. >> you mentioned one of them who went on to become the
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head of the metropolitan museum. another was lincoln cursein who went on to co-found the new york city ballot, one of the great art patrons in post world war ii. and yet some of these people went on to very famous careers yet their story is to little known. and that is what is kind of striking about what they did during the war. why is that, do you think? >> i think there are some people that wish the story would go away. i think there is different people that have a againas here. there are a lot of works of art that are still missing. as i mentioned some are in private collections. some are in museums around the world. i think when we get not topic of nazi looting it a very sensitive topic even to this day. that is one of the things we try and break down with the monuments men foundation is to discuss the story of these heroes and the role model that they can be not just from world war ii but also hugh their work can serve to avoid some of the aftermath as we saw in the looting of the national museum of iraq and baghdad. how is it that in a world war with a dozen people, empowered by general eisenhower, we could do so well as a nation and as
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western allies and we couldn't do better in a small complicated but small regional conflict. i think it's important to understand, i think it worked during world war ii because the orders came from the top. they were empowered by president roosevelt, orders issues by general eisenhower and i think that is an important model for us. we should never lower the bauer on protection of cultural pressures during the war. >> -- treasures during war. >> the book is called the monuments men, robert edsel, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: and again >> again, the major developments of the day. president obama began a three- day visit to china, with a call for cooperation. he also prodded the communist government to scale back censorship and to tolerate more criticism. the u.n. nuclear agency reported iran plans to start up a new plant for enriching uranium in 2011.wz portion -- new task force on
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mammograms saying women should wait until age 50 to get the an i'm breast exams. on, an oine- only feature tonight: on our patchwork nation page, how the recession looks in the boom town of eagle, colorado, where the population has doubled in the last decade. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. i'm jim lehrer. thank you, and good night. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by: >> this is the engine that connects abundant grain from the american heartland to haran's best-selling whole wheat, while keeping 60 billion pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere every year. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> what makes us an engine for the economy? plants across america. nearly 200,000 jobs created.
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we see beyond cars. monsanto. producing more. conserving more. improving farmers' lives. that's sustainable agriculture. more at >> chevron. this is the power of human energy. >> and by wells fargo advisors. together, we'll go far. and by grant thornton. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.
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and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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The News Hour With Jim Lehrer
PBS November 16, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

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